'State security committee' to be set up

BEIJING - In a bid to better coordinate its foreign and domestic security priorities, China will be setting up a "state security committee" to oversee policymaking among various agencies.

The move, announced on Tuesday as the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wrapped up a key policy meeting, comes as President Xi Jinping tries to get a myriad players in the country's military, diplomatic and economic arms to stay on the same page.

Likely fashioned after the United States' National Security Council, the proposed committee was a surprise announcement as the meeting was expected to focus on the economy.

The official Xinhua news agency said the committee is aimed at "enhancing the national security apparatus and strategies to ensure the country's safety".

Shanghai-based security analyst Ni Lexiong said the proposed committee is an evolution from the CCP's leading small group on national security set up in 2000, and reflects an attempt to tackle the issue more systematically.

The move, Professor Ni noted, also reflected the Chinese leaders' concerns about the country's increasingly complex domestic and external security challenges - and the threat they could potentially pose to its economy.

These challenges were highlighted by a fatal car crash near the Tiananmen Square on Oct 28 that was blamed on Uighur minorities from western Xinjiang, followed days later by bomb blasts outside a CCP headquarters in northern Shanxi province.

Talk of a possible war between China and Japan has also surfaced with alarming frequency in the mainland's online forums, as both countries locked horns over their Senkaku/Diaoyu islands disputes in the East China Sea.

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